Athaulla is a PhD candidate at the Australian National University’s Department of Pacific Affairs (DPA). He is a political scientist with a focus on international relations, especially in the areas of sustainable development, climate change, and regional security. He developed a constructivist research agenda for understating the impact of small island developing states (SIDS) on United Nations climate change negotiations with a regional and international context.
Athaulla’s current research at DPA looks at the drivers of interpretive leadership and the construction of the Pacific Islands’ development cooperation and regional security in the wake of the COVID-19 recovery and beyond. He looks at the political ideas and the fundamental assumptions of Pacific Island leaders about the world. His focus is on Pacific Islands’ post-COVID-19 development agenda, including how island-based climate targets are factored in regional and national stimulus and recovery programmes.
Athaulla is originally from the Maldives, and worked as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for 16 years. He completed a PhD from the University of Queensland, where he developed an institutionalist framework to understand the governance and development process in the Maldives. In the past, he has also filled research and analyst positions at the Climate Response Programme and Policy Innovation Hub of Griffith University and the Queensland Council of Social Service.